Life in Paris

5 French Films to Watch During the Second Lockdown

Thanks to the Frenchman’s father, I have always been encouraged to watch French films and listen to French music. Over the years, he has very kindly taught me the who’s who of  French actors and musicians. My beau-père is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to French movies and always has new films to recommend. After seeing a number of these films are now available on Netflix France, I wanted to share my top 5 with you, in the hopes that you will enjoy them as much as I did. Whether you already speak French, or are still learning, these films offer a wonderful break from the current circumstances we find ourselves in.

*I have included the English title if your Netflix is in English!

1) Je ne suis pas un homme facile* (2018)

(English title – I am not an easy man)

I absolutely loved this Netflix original film. The main character (Damien) played by Vincent Elbaz, is a chauvinist who enjoys all the advantages of living in a patriarchal society. After a bang on the head, he wakes up and finds himself in a world where gender roles are reversed. It’s a funny, refreshing and at the same time sincere movie which tackles issues on gender roles and stereotypes. I highly recommend this film!

Watch the trailer here

Photo credit: Planete cinephile

Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont* (2016)

(English title – The African Doctor)

This comedy drama is based on the true story of Seyolo Zantoko. Seyolo graduates from medical school in Lille in 1975, where he is the only African man in his class. After graduating, he accepts a job in a tiny, rural French town called Marly-Gomont. This is where his story really begins. We follow Seyolo and his family and the difficulties they face in their new home. We observe their struggle to intergrate and the villagers struggle to accept their new doctor into their lives. This is one of my favourite French films. However, make sure you have some tissues nearby because there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Watch the trailer here

Photo credit L’

L’auberge espagnole (2006)

This was one of the first French films I ever watched with the Frenchman. Mostly because it’s not 100% in French so it’s a great place to start when you’re learning. The film follows Xavier (played by Romain Duris) who is an economics grad student who decides to do an Erasmus year in Barcelona. After initially struggling to find an apartment, he ends up in a coloc (a flatshare) with students from all over the world. They all speak different languages and have different cultural standards. The film is mostly in French, but there is also some English, a lot of Spanish, a little Catalan, Danish, German and Italian. It is a hilarious movie with a number of talented actors including Audrey Tatou (Amélie), Cecile de France and Kelly Reilly. The sequel – Les Poupées russes (Russian Dolls) is also available on Netflix France right now, and hopefully the final installment Casse-tête chinois (Chinese Puzzle) will be available in the future. All three movies are fantastic!

Watch the trailer here

Mesrine Part 1 & 2 (2008)

Vincent Cassel’s transformation into Jacques Mesrine is absolutely fascinating in this two-part biographical film. Mesrine is arguably France’s most famous criminal of all time and Cassel’s committal to the role just blew me away. Firstly, Cassel put on a huge amount of weight for this movie and is almost unrecognisable at the end of the second film. Secondly, the director deliberately shot this film over a number of years, so Cassel’s transformation is even more believable. Mesrine was responsible for numerous murders, bank robberies, burglaries, and kidnappings in France, the US, and Canada. He escaped prison multiple times and was at one point, public enemy number one in France. His life and even his death, in some respects are equally as captivating. The movie is quite violent, so if you are not a fan of action movies with blood and gore, probably best to sit this one out!

Watch the trailer for Part 1 – L’Instinct de mort (Killer Instinct) here

L’Affaire SK1 (2013)

Also based on a true story, L’Affaire SK1 is the codename that was given to the first serial killer in France that the police were able to identify via DNA analysis. For almost ten years, the police tried and failed to catch Guy Georges, who raped and murdered multiple women in Paris between 1990 and 1997. During the film we follow Franck Magne (the inspector who worked on the case in real life) as he attempts to catch France’s first, and most prolific serial killer. If you enjoy a good crime drama, this movie is a great pick.

Watch the trailer here

I hope this helps you choose which French films to watch next during the second lockdown. If you have any others you think I should have included, feel free to add them in the comment section! And if the lockdown goes on long enough, perhaps I’ll do a part two, but for now…Bon film! 

If you liked this post, you can also check out my post about French Films You Need to Watch here.

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